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1 November 2008 Award Announcements


The Cooper Ornithological Society is pleased to present the 2008 Loye and Alden Miller Research Award to Dr. Peter R. Marler in recognition of his lifetime of achievements and contributions in ornithological research. Dr. Marler's research during the past 50 years has been instrumental in influencing our understanding of the role of development, the environment, and neural mechanisms on bird song. He began his studies of geographic variation in Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs) vocalizations while studying for his Ph.D. in Plant Ecology (which he received in 1952). Two years later, he received his Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of Cambridge, England, where, studying with William Thorpe, he conducted a field study of the behavior of Chaffinches. After moving to the University of California, Berkeley in 1957, he focused his research on song learning in White-crowned Sparrows (Zonotrichia leucophrys), which also has local dialects like the Chaffinches. His pioneering studies in the field and laboratory established that young sparrows learned their songs from adult male White-crowned Sparrows. His work was important not only because of its contribution to our understanding of the biology of birds and their intriguing songs, but also because it established a foundation for exploration of the various mechanisms that influence and control vocalizations in animals. In addition to his seminal work on bird vocalizations, Dr. Marler has made important contributions to our knowledge of behavior and vocalizations of primates. In 1966, Dr. Marler moved to Rockefeller University in New York, where he spent the next 23 years conducting research on song learning in birds. He built a strong program with junior colleagues and students, including Fernando Nottebohm, Susan Peters, Don Kroodsma, Bill Searcy, Steve Nowicki, Ken Yasukawa, and John Wingfield, all active contributors to ornithology today. This research group has extended our knowledge of bird song and the bird brain through a combination of field and laboratory studies in animal behavior and neuroscience. In 1989, Dr. Marler retired from Rockefeller and moved to the University of California, Davis, where he helped establish the Center for Animal Behavior. He retired from Davis in 1994, but he is still an active scientist, having coedited the recently published book, Neuroscience of Birdsong. Dr. Marler has authored and edited several previous books, including Mechanisms of Animal Behavior, the textbook he coauthored with William J. Hamilton III in 1966, which influenced many young scientists of the time. Dr. Marler has received many honors for his scientific accomplishments, including Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1970), membership in the National Academy of Sciences (1971), the Coues Award of the American Ornithologists' Union (1976), the International Prize for Comparative Ethology (2001), the Lewis Rosenstiel Award in the Basic Medical Sciences (2004), and most recently, he has been named a foreign member of the Royal Society (2008). For more than five decades, Peter Marler has been an intellectual leader in the study of bird song, and his work has made a lasting influence on ornithology.

Peter R. Marler, recipient of the Loye and Alden Miller Research Award for 2008.




The Cooper Ornithological society is pleased to bestow Honorary Membership on Dr. Fritz L. Knopf for his past outstanding service to the society. Dr. Knopf received his Bachelor of Science in 1967 from Hiram College and then earned both of his graduate degrees at Utah State University: an M.Sc. in 1973 in wildlife science, then a Ph.D. in 1975. Following graduation, he assumed an Assistant Professor position in the Ecology, Fisheries, and Wildlife Department at Oklahoma State University, then in 1980 moved into the USFWS Denver Research Center. He remained in that agency, moving to Fort Collins, CO in 1982, where he remains today. In 1993, the FWS was moved into the National Biological survey, then in 1996 moved into the U.S. Geological Survey, and Dr. Knopf assumed new leadership roles with each transition. During his storied and lengthy career, his research has focused on a number of interesting ecological questions, ranging from examining insecticide residues in bird eggs, to social behavior and migration stopover in shore birds, to the importance of riparian vegetation to migrating passerine birds. More recently, he has focused his research efforts on the ecological diversity of native grasslands in mid-America. He has published almost 200 papers and has mentored a number of graduate students. Dr. Knopf is now "retired" but is still active with avian research in the Midwest and with preservation efforts of the endangered Mountain Plover.

Fritz L. Knopf, recipient of Honorary Membership in the Cooper Ornithological Society, 2008.


The Cooper Ornithological Society has greatly benefited from the outstanding service that Dr. Knopf has provided over the years. He served on the COS Conservation Committee in 1985–1986. From 1995 through 1999, he served as Chair of the COS Publications Committee and in 1996 led the COS effort in developing a Managing Editor office. During 1996–1997, he helped to develop a website for the COS. In 2006, he was elected to the COS Board of Directors, where he still serves today. Then in 2007, he was asked to Chair the COS Board of Directors Nominating Committee and the important COS Painton Awards Committee. Dr. Knopf continues to work on COS activities and with the officers and members of the COS, providing much-needed guidance and direction to the society.

For his extensive service and outstanding contributions to our society, in 2008 the Cooper Ornithological Society is proud to award Honorary Membership to Dr. Fritz L. Knopf.


The Cooper Ornithological Society is pleased to bestow Honorary Membership to Dr. Blair Wolf for his past outstanding service to the Society and to ornithology. Dr. Wolf received his undergraduate and M.A. degrees from San Jose State University under the guidance of Dick Mewaldt. He then went on to Arizona State University and in 1996 received a Ph.D. degree, being mentored by Glen Walsberg. His Ph.D. graduate work explored questions surrounding physiological adaptation of birds to desert heat, and he continues a research focus in that direction. Following graduation, in order to remain close to desert heat, Dr. Wolf moved to southern Arizona, working on a NSF postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Arizona. In 2000, he secured an Assistant Professor position at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 2006 and remains at UNM today. Dr. Wolf's research interests have continued to focus on the physiology of birds in arid environments, with a special emphasis recently being placed on animal isotopic ecology. He has published over 35 scientific papers on these research topics.

Dr. Wolf's association with the COS began early in his schooling, as both of his graduate professors were deeply involved with the Cooper Ornithological Society, having served as officers, and both are also Honorary Members. Since graduation, Dr. Wolf has unselfishly devoted large portions of his professional efforts toward helping the COS. He and his students are regular attendees at annual COS meetings and have presented numbers of professional papers. Dr. Wolf was Chair of the Publications Committee in 1999 and has been a student-paper judge. He was elected by his peers in 2002 to the COS Board and served in that position until 2005. Dr. Wolf's greatest contribution to the COS, and to all of ornithology, has been his efforts to convert past issues of the Condor and other ornithological journals to an electronic format. Since 2000 he has served as the principal force behind SORA, the Searchable Ornithological Research Archives, hosted by the University of New Mexico library system.

Thus, the Cooper Ornithological Society is proud to award Honorary Membership to Dr. Blair Wolf for his outstanding contributions to our society and to ornithology.

Blair Wolf, recipient of Honorary Membership in the Cooper Ornithological Society, 2008.

"Award Announcements," The Condor 110(4), 814-815, (1 November 2008).
Published: 1 November 2008

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